GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 29, 2023) — Several of the top 15U-19U Boys teams and players in the US Youth Soccer National League competed March 24-27 in Greensboro, N.C. The event featured teams from both National League P.R.O. and Elite 64.
The Elite 64 matches allowed players from US Youth Soccer’s top club-based league to compete against each other in unique matchups. Meanwhile, National League P.R.O. — the top team-based league in US Youth Soccer — featured games that saw league standings near their final form and teams secure berths to the 2023 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
During the action in Greensboro, 27 boys teams secured their place in the National Championships via National League P.R.O. One of those sides, 17U Washington United SC 06 (NJ), did so by climbing from mid-table to win its group, thanks to a dramatic win in its final game of the league season.
“All weekend we’ve had to fight, because we knew anything other than a win, we were most likely done,” said David Heil, head coach of Washington United. “Coming in today, facing last year’s national champ, (there was) a lot of intensity. They never doubted themselves. I couldn’t be more proud.
“We’re a small club from Jersey, so to make a name for ourselves and do what they did, it’s pretty amazing. We had the No. 1 team in the nation, No. 3 team in the nation, No. 5 team in the nation all in our bracket, so it’s pretty special.”
2023 USYS National Championships | Qualifiers via National League P.R.O. (Boys)
*National League P.R.O. Group Champion
(Only groups that played in Greensboro are listed below. Click here to see the full list of qualifiers.)
15U Boys – Group C
Billy Goat FC 08 (KS)*
SBLGN Wildlings Blue 2008 (NY-E)
15U Boys – Group D
Potomac Premier I 08B (MD)*
Juventus Miami Pogba (FL)
15U Boys – Group E
Brentwood SC 08 Premier Man City NL (NY-E)
Chicago Magic 2008 MCL (IL)
NY Hota Bavarian SC 08 Blue (NY-E)
16U Boys – Group D
Chicago Magic 2007 MCL (IL)*
07 PTFC Triad Premier (NC)
16U Boys – Group E
Titans FC Orozco B07 (CA-S)*
JB Marine Academy Baum 07B (MO)
16U Boys – Group F
Madison 56ers 07 Boys Red (WI)*
Croatian Eagles Red 2007 (WI)
17U Boys – Group D
WUSC 06 (NJ)*
CUP 06 Black (OH)
17U Boys – Group F
Miami Breakers FC 2006B Black (FL)*
FCE 2006 Boys Elite (PA-E)
18U Boys – Group D
NLS Ajax 05 White (MD)
18U Boys – Group E
Madison 56ers 05 Boys Red (WI)*
18U Boys – Group F
BVB International Academy Pittsburgh 05 Premier (PA-W)*
CUP 05 NL (OH)
19U Boys – Group C
FC Bucks DOMINION 04 Boys (PA-E)*
Highland FC 04/05 Red (NC)
Inland Surf 19U (CA-S)
19U Boys – Group D
SCS United 2004 Boys Black (PA-W)
CUP 04 NL (OH)
Dutchmen FC 04 Boys (NJ)
“Greensboro provided a great conclusion to our combined Elite 64 and National League P.R.O. boys events,” National League Commissioner Simon Collins said. “It’s always great to have so many talented players together in one location, and the on-field performances showed why these players have earned the right to compete at the highest levels of the USYS National League.”
GREENSBORO LOOK BACK: NATIONAL LEAGUE P.R.O.
Recap some of the NL P.R.O. matchups and performances from Greensboro…
Potomac Premier I 08B (MD) did just enough to clinch NL P.R.O.’s 15U Group D title Sunday afternoon in an extremely competitive match against Rhode Island Surf 08B Elite (RI).
In a game filled with back-and-forth action and no shortage of drama, neither side could break down a strong opposition defense and separate each other by find a game-winning goal. There were large portions of the game played in the midfield, with the two teams evenly matched and proving that they were two of the group’s top sides.
That suited Potomac just fine, as the team that calls Maryland home needed only a draw to clinch the group’s top spot and a trip to Nationals in July. Group D was extremely competitive all throughout the year, so coming out on top was a well-deserved feat — and no easy task.
In Group C, Billy Goat FC 08 (KS) got a win in its last game to jump to the top of the standings and secure a first-place finish. Meanwhile, the Group E title will be decided when Brentwood SC 08 Premier Man City NL (NY-E) faces NY Hota Bavarian SC 08 Blue (NY-E) in the group’s lone remaining game.
On Saturday, 07 PTFC Triad Premier (NC) and Chicago Magic 2007 MCL (IL), two of NL P.R.O. 16U Group D’s top sides, went head to head.
Implications were high with just a few games left in the season — and these two high-scoring teams provided a thriller. Both teams were on the attack early, trading chances and getting up and down the field. Alessandro Mendoza Ortiz’s slick through ball from midfield to a streaking Cohen Muse, who finished the chance, put Piedmont Triad up first in the 14th minute.
Chicago Magic’s dominance with set pieces allowed them to respond quickly. Bogich Milosevic sent a corner in during the 19th minute that Ajdin Sabanovic met to level the teams, and then Milosevic added one of his own off a scramble in the box three minutes later to take the lead.
It was a tense second half with both teams pushing forward, but it was the Illinois side that found the next goal. Sabanovic’s second of the day gave the Magic a much-needed insurance goal and cemented the win. Chicago went on to secure the Group D title.
Elsewhere, eight points in Greensboro helped Titans FC Orozco B07 (CA-S) finish atop Group E, and Madison 56ers 07 Boys Red (WI) narrowly won Group F by one point over in-state foe Croatian Eagles Red 2007 (WI).
Needing a win or tie on Monday to clinch the 17U Group F title, Miami Breakers FC 2006B Black (FL) fought back — and then held on — to secure a 3-2 victory against Potomac Blue 06B (MD).
The Maryland side took a 34th-minute lead on a Brian Ignacio goal, but Miami responded shortly after when Joaquin Merlo cut back to his left foot and blasted a shot past the keeper. Merlo added his second shortly before halftime to give Miami a 2-1 lead at the break.
Despite going down to 10 men, the Breakers extended the lead to 3-1 on an 83rd-minute free kick from Fabrizio Bustos. An 85th-minute foul saw Miami go down to nine men, and Potomac capitalized on the ensuing free kick through Juan Cruz Markarian’s headed goal — cutting the Miami lead to 3-2. However, the Breakers held on in the final minutes to secure the win and first-place finish.
Monday also featured a dramatic matchup in Group D, which saw WUSC 06 (NJ) defeat CUP 06 Black (OH) in a must-win scenario to claim the group title. Meanwhile, the Group E title is still up for grabs, with the April 22 matchup between NYPFC 2006 Boys (NYE) and Brentwood SC 06 Premier United NL (NY-E) serving as the deciding factor.
A 1-0 win against Ronkonkoma Real FC (NY-E) on Sunday helped BVB International Academy Pittsburgh 05 Premier (PA-W) secure the NL P.R.O. 18U Group F title.
It took just seven minutes for BVB to take a lead, as Matthew Armenio found the back of the net to put the PA West side up, 1-0. Despite the early BVB goal, Real FC used physicality to slow down the BVB attack and keep the game in a one-goal margin.
Real FC — which entered the day in third place — pinned BVB in its own defensive half for periods late in the first half and through the final 45 minutes as the New York side searched for an equalizer. However, the BVB back line intervened on multiple occasions to block Real FC attempts on goal. The PA West side repelled some late pressure, including several corner kicks, to secure the shutout and win the group title.
In Group D, NLS Ajax 05 White (MD) is currently in first place, but Raiders FC 2005 (IL) has a chance to win the title if it can win its final game. Elsewhere, the Group E title went to Madison 56ers 05 Boys Red (WI), which held on for a draw against second-place Libertyville FC 1974 Elite 05 Boys (IL) to get the clinching point on Monday in Greensboro.
The top two teams in NL P.R.O. 19U Group D faced off on Friday to kick off their weekend in Greensboro, and the gameplay lived up to their standing. In a back-and-forth affair, LFA Phillips 2004B (MO) and SCS United 2004 Boys Black (PA-W) split the points in a 2-2 draw.
A few minutes after LFA keeper Andrew Klott saved a penalty to keep the game level, the Missouri side took a 1-0 lead when Samuel McCrary made a late run into the box and finished at the back post. LFA couldn’t maintain the advantage, as SCS United’s Beaux Lizewski equalized in the final minute of the first half.
SCS carried that momentum through the break and took a 48th-minute lead on a Seth Basinger strike. LFA later replied in the 77th minute when Tyler Eberlin found the back of the net — forcing the 2-2 draw. SCS went on to wrap up its time in Greensboro by recording two shutout wins, which left it in first place. The PA West side has one game left against CUP 04 NL (OH), which will decide the group winner.
Elsewhere, FC Bucks DOMINION 04 Boys (PA-E) won all three games in Greensboro to secure the Group C title.
To view all of the standings and results from the National League P.R.O. season, click here.
GREENSBORO LOOK BACK: ELITE 64
PDA Elite 64 08B and Beadling SC Elite 64 08B each entered Sunday with a win and a draw in Greensboro, and the two sides battled to finish the weekend with an unbeaten mark. After a close contest, PDA scored a late penalty kick to secure a 1-0 victory.
Each team spent periods of play in the attacking half, as they searched for the all-important opening goal. The defenses held strong, as the game entered its final minutes — when PDA earned a 75th-minute free kick in a dangerous position.
Landon Hoenisch’s curling attempt was pushed over the bar by Beadling keeper William Guarino, but the ensuing corner kick led to a hand ball in the box. Hoenisch put his laces through the penalty kick attempt to find the back of the net and give PDA the 1-0 win — helping the New Jersey side to a 2-0-1 mark in Greensboro.
Boise Timbers | Thorns Elite 64 07B and Cedar Stars Academy North Elite 64 07B got the final day of National League Greensboro off on the right foot, providing an entertaining Elite 64 showcase match early Monday morning.
Two fast-paced offenses went head-to-head, with Boise using the speed of Kai Anitok up front to create havoc for a Cedar Stars Academy defense that had not surrendered a goal in its first two outings in North Carolina.
Cedar Stars took more control in the second half, allowing Alpha Bah to use his pace and skill on the wing. The breakthrough came in the 74th minute, with the New Jersey side drawing a penalty. Sebastian Vera stepped up to the spot and calmly converted his chance, finding the back of the net and breaking the deadlock.
Boise Timbers went on an all-out attack from that point on, trying to find the equalizer, but Cedar Stars capitalized on the Oregon team’s aggressiveness. Kieran Murray was played through on a breakaway in the 80th minute and slotted his shot past the keeper, giving CSA an insurance goal and locking in a last-game win.
After they each split their first two games in Greensboro, Toca FC Elite 64 06B and AYSO United Elite 64 06B went down to the wire in their matchup to close out the weekend. Despite some late chances for a winner at both ends, the two sides finished in a 1-1 draw.
AYSO took the lead in the 57th minute when Daniel Nadeau scored the game’s opening goal from a corner kick. Toca fought back and generated a tying goal, as Pierce Lysinger found the back of the net in the 65th minute.
The final five minutes of play saw both teams create scoring opportunities. Toca narrowly missed on a header at the near post off a corner kick, and AYSO couldn’t take advantage of a dangerous free kick and chance in the box. The final whistle sounded shortly after to lock in the 1-1 tie.
Determined efforts and quality play from at both ends of the field helped Ohio Galaxies FC Elite 64 04/05B complete a three-win weekend in Greensboro, as it defeated SC Wave Elite 64 04/05B, 3-0, on Sunday.
Both teams were unbeaten through two days in Greensboro, and it took 45 minutes to separate them, as Joshua Cline put Ohio in front shortly after the break. Ethan Reidy pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 65th minute when finished a squared ball from right winger Gavin Morningstar.
Wave had chances to cut into the deficit, but Galaxies sealed the 3-0 win in the final minutes when Nathan Buecker poked home the team’s third off a corner kick. Galaxies recorded nine goals while conceding none over its three games in Greensboro.
To view all of the results from the Elite 64 action in Greensboro, click here.
* * *
Click here to view a full list of National League P.R.O. events for the 2022-23 season, and click here to view a full list of Elite 64 national events for the 2022-23 season.
About USYS National League P.R.O.
USYS National League P.R.O. represents the top team-based competition in the USYS National League. National League P.R.O. provides teams in the 14U-19U Boys and Girls age groups with the ability to earn their place into the league, where they have the opportunity to play against the top teams in the country while competing for berths to the USYS National Championships. For each gender, 12 teams per age group will advance to the National Championships from National League P.R.O.
About USYS National League Elite 64
USYS National League Elite 64 represents the elite club-based platform in the USYS National League. Elite 64 features year-round competition in six age groups (13U through 18/19U) for the top 64 boys clubs and top 64 girls clubs in the country. The annual competition calendar includes the league season, national showcases and the Elite 64 National Finals. Thanks to partnerships with world leaders in their respective fields, Elite 64 players have access to tools and technology to capture key information that can be shared with college coaches and professional scouts — making every game a recruitable moment.